A Mixed Bag

The Dolphins dropped to 0-3 on the preseason with a 23-6 loss against Atlanta on Friday night in a game that will be remembered for a couple of nasty downpours and more than a couple of dropped passes by Dolphins receivers. But it really wasn't all bad news for Miami.

The defense finally made its presence felt in the preseason, and this was despite the continued absence of linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby.

For the first time in the preseason, the Dolphins didn't give up a touchdown in the first quarter.

Miami, in fact, limited Atlanta to only nine points in the first half. And let's remember this is a very good Falcons offense, and it was playing with all of its stars.

Gary Guyton, the free agent signed away from New England in the offseason, started at linebacker because of the injuries and had by far his best showing in a Miami uniform.

Cornerback Sean Smith also had a strong performance, leading the way on a stop on a fourth-and-2 running play and later breaking up a third-down pass.

Cameron Wake, who was silent in the opener and then sat out the game at Carolina, had a sack and a half in the first two quarters.

On offense, the highlight were a couple of decisive runs, including an 18-yard gain by Reggie Bush on the Dolphins' first offensive snap.

Daniel Thomas and Steve Slaton also had nice runs.

Dan Carpenter also made a 52-yard field goal, which was the highlight on special teams.

The bad news obviously starts with the dropped passes.

Unofficially, Anthony Fasano had two or three drops depending on how harshly you want to judge, and he was joined on the drop stat sheet by Legedu Naanee, Jeff Fuller, Marcus Thigpen and Charles Clay, and we might be forgetting a couple others.

Given that lack of support, it was difficult for quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore to accomplish much — and they didn't.

In his first start since being declared the winner for the Dolphins quarterback job, Tannehill completed only 11 of 27 passes and the drops were accompanied by some inaccurate throws.

Maybe his best play came when he scrambled out of the pocket, gained 15 yards and then slid to avoid getting hit.

He also had a nice two-play sequence when he fired a dart downfield for a 25-yard completion to Davone Bess and then rolled to his left to avoid pressure, threw across his body and hit fullback Jorvorskie Lane in the flat.

All in all, Tannehill's performance wasn't a complete disaster, but it also showed he's a work in progress.

At this stage, the same can be said for the entire team.

It's not so much that the Dolphins have yet to have the lead in the preseason, but rather the lack of playmaking they've shown.

In the most significant preseason game of the summer, the Dolphins showed their defense actually is better than what it has shown, but the offense did little to provide much optimism.


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